Pompeo Due in Israel, UAE to Discuss Accord
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Monday, and in the United Arab Emirates the day after, to discuss the recent agreement the two Middle Eastern nations reached on achieving normalization. The deal was announced by US President Donald Trump on August 13 during a surprise news conference in the Oval Office. Dubbed the Abraham Accord and due to be signed in the near future, the agreement is not without its controversies. First and foremost, the Palestinians have rejected it across the board even though one of the conditions demanded by Abu Dhabi and agreed to by Israel was a suspension of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank. There is also controversy among the signatories themselves, with diverging claims as to whether the deal includes, or at least opens the way to, the supply of US-made F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, something many defense analysts say could help erode Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. The Israel Air Force has its own squadrons of the stealth fighter and, according to foreign reports, has already used them operationally.